Fruit Trees As Privacy Fence – How To?

You might want to grow abundant fruit trees as a privacy fence. You can get delicious fruits while effectively concealing your property. Yet it can be tricky to create this type of fence. We have gathered helpful information on how to make fruit trees work as a privacy fence.

It is possible to make fruit trees as a privacy fence by espalier. The process involves controlling the growth of the tree to a flat plane. You train the spreading branches of the plant to follow the desired design. Hedging the fruit trees also creates an effective privacy screen.

You should plan the pattern of your tree fence and add supports for its growth. Espalier fruit trees will take a few years to establish. You will need patience to do the process. If you are ready, read further to discover how you can make a fruit tree privacy fence. 

Peach orchard with ripe red peaches. Colorful fruits on tree ready to harvesting, banner. - Fruit Trees As Privacy Fence - How To?

Can You Make Fruit Trees A Privacy Fence?

Trees with red apples ready to picked in orchard. - Fruit Trees As Privacy Fence - How To?

You can create a privacy fence with fruit trees by espalier. Espalier is the way to train trees, shrubs, and woody vines to grow in a flat plane. The trees can be freestanding or have supports like a trellis or wall. The branches will learn to follow a pattern even in a limited space.

It would help if you planned what trees to espalier to meet your needs. The result of espalier adds to the decorative accent in your garden. At the same time, you can grow delicious fruits to harvest while keeping your space private.

Apple garden

Retaining the shape of the fence requires careful and regular care. It might take 1-2 years or more to see the results of espalier. Scheduling the pruning of branches is vital when you espalier. If you dedicate your efforts to making the trees flourish, they will live a long time. 

Fall and winter are the best times to espalier fruit trees. The production cycles of trees slow down during those seasons. You can also wait for spring, so the trees are big enough to train. Read below to learn how to create a privacy fence with fruit trees.

How To Build A Privacy Fence With Fruit Trees

Roadside with a wooden fence of planks enclosing an apple orchard with fruit trees on a sunny summer day, eco friendly background. — Photo

After choosing the fruit tree, training them is next. If you are a beginner in gardening, do not worry. There are simple patterns you can follow. For experienced gardeners, you can take the challenge of creating complex designs.


Before starting, you should prepare the following materials:

  • Three or more young plants
  • 4x4 posts (rot-resistant wood like cedar)
  • 14-gauge wire
  • 2X4 top rail  
  • Cloth-covered wire plant ties
  • Hand Pruners
  • Posthole digger or shovel

Besides the supplies, you also need to find a location for the trees. Plant the trees on well-drained and fertile soil with at least 6-8 hours of sunlight. Before you build the privacy fence, you should choose a suitable fruit tree to espalier. 

Fruit Trees To Plant For A Privacy Fence

Trees with red apples ready to picked in orchard. - Fruit Trees As Privacy Fence - How To?

You can espalier most fruit trees. Fruit-bearing trees with long-lived spurs are the top choices. Fruit trees with long and naturally flexible branches are also good. With so many options available, you should check what is suitable to plant in your garden.

Listed are some fruit trees you can espalier:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Citrus
  • Fig
  • Lemon
  • Pears

Choose a dwarf variety of the fruit tree to plant. Select the small tree with spreading branches. The young plants' branches are easier to train because they are more flexible than matured trees.

It is also best to select bare root trees with unbranched whips.

You can check out more from this post Which Fruit Trees Can You Espalier?

Espalier Patterns

It is critical to pick the right pattern of the fence. The patterns influence plant choice and the required maintenance. The direction of the branches will also affect fruit production. 

The main categories of the espalier patterns are informal and free-form. Read below about their differences.

Formal/Symmetrical Patterns

Follow the formal patterns for those who want to clip and prune their trees. These patterns also require some support, such as a trellis. Formal patterns are good if you want a neat privacy fence because the branches follow a defined design.

Some patterns you can follow are:

  • Belgian fence
  • Candelabra
  • Drapeau Marchand
  • Formal fan
  • Palmette oblique
  • Palmette Verrier
  • Tiered horizontal cordon

Informal/Free-form Patterns

You can let the branches let loose and follow an unusual pattern. You allow the tree to grow into its natural form, but you also need to support it. The frequency of pruning will also depend on the shape you want to achieve.

Regardless of your pattern, you should always align the design to your needs. If unsure, you can ask for advice from a horticulturist or a plant nursery professional. After deciding what to plant and the pattern to follow, you can finally espalier the fruit trees. 

Steps To Espalier Fruit Trees

Follow the process to create your privacy fence with fruit trees:

  • Find a good location to plant the trees.  
  • Choose the fruit trees to espalier. 
  • Select the espalier pattern that is suitable for the tree and your preference.
  • Create the supports of the trees based on the pattern. Place the necessary wires on the posts.
  • Plant your fruit tree at 8-12 inches in front of the support structure.
  • Using the plant ties, choose strong and healthy branches to attach to the first level of wires. One branch goes to the left and the other to the right. Do this for the other trees.
  • Prune the center trunk above the two branches attached. Cut it at least 1-2 inches
  • Leave at least three buds on the trunk to promote growth.
  • Prune the trees at the right times throughout their development.
  • Check for loose plant ties and replace them as needed.

You will not see the results for a few years, so you should give the trees the necessary support.

Do The Fruit Trees Need Support?

Supporting heavy cropping peach fruit tree with sticks and woods — Photo

You need to support the tree regardless of your desired pattern. With some support, you can create the illusion that the espalier is complete even if the branches are still growing.

Trellises are common supports for espaliers. If you choose wooden trellises, these should be rot-resistant like cedar, cypress, or redwood. Pre-treated lumber will also work well.

You can place the trellises next to a wall or a fence as additional support. It is also good to anchor the tree on the wall using some concrete nails or masonry staples.

If you want a freestanding espalier, it is possible to get support even if away from a wall. There are wires that you place horizontally on the supporting posts.

It is best to distance at least 6-8 inches from the wall. Doing so can promote good air circulation, decaying of the wood posts, and mildew. You can remove the support for informal patterned fences when the trees mature.

What Is Another Way To Create A Privacy Fence With Fruit Trees?

If you don't like the time- and effort-consuming espalier method, you can just grow the fruit trees as hedges. Most fruit trees are bushes, so creating a privacy fence is less arduous.

Some fruits that are good hedges include:

  • Crabapples
  • Currants
  • Gooseberries
  • Natal plum
  • Pineapple guava
  • Quince

Autumn berries and leaves on the blurred trees background. Fall background. Colorful autumn landscape. Pyracantha orange berries with green leaves. Autumn nature background. Selective focus. — Photo

You space the fruit trees at least 1-2 feet apart. The distance depends on the fruit tree size and how dense you want your fence. If you place them too close to each other, you should give additional irrigation and fertilizer.

Also, be aware of the distance from the pollination sources of the trees. The pollination should be within a 100-meter distance.

Other than fruit trees, read about 11 Tall Flowering Shrubs For Privacy And Hedges.

Tips To Maintain A Fruit Tree Privacy Fence

Creating a privacy fence by espalier takes work. Fruit tree hedges also need care, even if the process is not laborious. If you don't want to waste your efforts, you should know how to maintain them.

Pruning is the most crucial task to maintain the privacy fence's shape and condition. Pruning will continue during the lifetime of the fruit tree. You should be aware of the correct pruning times to maximize yields.

The dormant and early spring season promotes new growth that will fill the pattern quickly. Pruning in the mid-summer is ideal if you want to control the growth in a small space. The worst time to prune is in late summer because the branches might not establish before the frost.

In Summary

Using a fruit tree as a privacy fence is a great way to add some design to your garden. You can either espalier the trees or create a dense hedge. You must maintain the health of the fruit trees to keep their shape and yield more fruits. 

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